The Miami-Dade County Police Department has created a new unit tasked with preventing people with serious mental illnesses from reaching a crisis point or potentially shooting someone with firearms, WLRN has learned.
The unit was partially created in response to the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, which left 17 people dead.
In an interview, team leader Lieutenant Patrick Calvo explained that the Threat Management Section is trying to form closer working relationships with people suffering from serious mental illnesses who frequently come in contact with the department. The program is also tasked with removing firearms from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.
“When we go out to take firearms, it’s somebody who we truly feel could pose a true threat to public safety,” said Lt. Calvo.
Since a “soft launch” in June, the unit has already obtained 20 “restrained protective orders” against people across Miami-Dade County, which last for a full year, Calvo said. Those orders allow police to remove firearms, ammunition, and a concealed weapons permit of an individual, thanks to a new “red flag” law passed by the Florida legislature in the wake of the Parkland tragedy.